Ragin' Rusti Steel 3/19/02 - 7/14/06
It is almost one year to the day that my first field trial lab, "Ragin' Rusti Steel", died from Pythiosis. I am posting below some promising news concerning this disease.
I've spent much of the last year trying to educate other dog owners and veterinarians about the blood test and curative vaccine. It now looks like there is real progress being made in finding a cure.
Below is a copy of an email sent to me from a lady in Texas describing her experience with Pythiosis. I know it is lengthy but very informative!
Thank you all for your support and please tell others!
PLEASE CROSS POST and Share with your veterinarian.
In the Americas, the disease is known to occur in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean islands. In the United States, the disease is more commonly reported in the states along the Gulf of Mexico: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. However, several cases in dogs, equines, and humans have occurred in states such as Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, North and South Carolina, Tennessee (human), New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, California and Oregon. (Currently 2 young girls in Florida are being treated.)
Many of you read articles of Charlie and Maggie in March. My dogs have 2 acres to play on and an air conditioned dog room with a dog door to come and go. However, Charlie always liked the girls so after a neighbor’s dogs visited our fence line while in season, Charlie decided he needed to visit her. Unfortunately, Maggie followed through the same hole. Having never been loose my dogs were not street smart and did not know about cars. Their ended joy run ended in disaster 5 miles from home. My sweet boy, ‘CH Robbsdale’s Charlie Rt Man For The Job’ was hit and killed and Maggie, ‘CH Cimmaron’s Southern Magnolia’ was lost for 3 days. We got Maggie back; however, while lost, she ate and drank anything she found. In early May she was diagnosed with the fatal disease of Pythiosis. We had lost a girl to this disease in 2005 so my heart sunk, but this time God was with us. After nearly 2 months of treatment Maggie is chasing butterflies, spreading toys and eating fine.
The MIRACLE this time was Bob Glass and Pan American Vet. Lab. www.pavlab.com A friend found a new site on the internet, www.pythiosis,com . This is a site that Tammy Bell of Mississippi dedicated to her lovely Labrador, Rusti who died of Pythiosis in July of 2006. Tammy’s goal with the site was to hopefully save at least one dog. I am proud to say it is Maggie. Tammy informed me there was now a $45 blood test to diagnosis Pythiosis. She put me in touch with Bob Glass, whom along with Mr. Mendoza of Michigan State has been researching Pythiosis for several years. Mr. Glass just received approval in Feb. 2007 to begin a study with his NEW dog serum. Maggie was number 14. Of the first 18, only 2 have died; one was very advanced. (= 90% survival)
“Pythium normally grows in plants such as grass and weeds. It reproduces in wet conditions by developing a motile “spore” that “swims” from the infected plant to a new plant and sets up a new infection. This motile “spore” does not live long, perhaps a few hours to a few days. I’m not real sure about exactly how long, but it does not live “through the winter”. I don’t have any specific information on how the Pythium survives the winter, but I expect it would be protected from the cold in any infected plants that don’t freeze completely.
Historically Pythium has been thought to be limited in geographic range to warm, wet areas such as the tropics and, in the US, to the Southern coastal regions. While it is certainly true that Pythium is more common in these regions we now are finding Pythium in colder and drier climates. It is interesting that we now know that golf courses with well kept grass and stand water (traps) are an excellent reservoir for pythium.”
I truly believe more dogs die of Pythiosis than are ever diagnosed. Most vets have heard of the disease, but are unfamiliar with it. The disease is usually misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, cancer, Pancreatitis, or unexplained Intestinal Problems.
Maggie vomited on Wed. morning and again Wed. evening. I called the vet. on Thurs., but he was out of the office. She continued to vomit her meals on Thurs and we saw the vet on Fri. Friday morning I noticed blood in her stool. My vet ran all of the normal test and x-ray; everything was negative. He made us an appointment with the Vet. Specialist in Houston for Monday. Over the weekend, a friend found Tammy’s website so I contacted her. Afterwards I contacted Mr. Glass. I had been through the same symptoms before and lost a beautiful girl to Pythiosis, so I followed my own gut. Prior to going to the vet specialist I stopped at a different vet to have a tube of blood drawn. I took the blood myself to the downtown Houston post office and Express Mailed it to Mr. Glass.
I followed through with the specialist; Maggie and I spent from 9 am to 6 pm at the specialist having ultrasound, endoscope and IV fluids. I questioned the vet. specialist several times about Pythiosis. His tentative diagnosis: 1st IBS and 3rd choice Pythiosis (unlikely). Biopsies would be back on Thurs.
Mr. Glass received the blood on Tues. morning and by that afternoon he called with the horrible news. Maggie tested strong positive for Pythiosis. Fortunately, I had not sat around. Mr. Glass was offering a 50% chance of survival which was 45% higher than anybody else could offer so Maggie had her first injection Wed. about noon. My vet. notified the specialist on Tues.; Wed afternoon the specialist called me to confirm his test also said Pythiosis. I chose to continue with Mr. Glass. Maggie also had several prescriptions to control the symptoms; she had to eat to survive while the serum let her body build antibodies. We had some very long nights, but Maggie is fine. In early May I did not expect Maggie to see her second birthday; she turned 2 on June 16th. She is back to 2+ miles a day.
Please save and cross-post this message. If your dog ever has similar symptoms, I would highly recommend you contact Mr. Bob Glass. 800-856-9655